Janet Anderson

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Janet Anderson
Shadow Minister for Women
In office
26 July 1996 – 2 May 1997
Leader Tony Blair
Preceded by Tessa Jowell
Succeeded by Gillian Shephard
Member of Parliament
for Rossendale and Darwen
In office
9 April 1992 – 12 April 2010
Preceded by Sir David Trippier
Succeeded by Jake Berry
Personal details
Born (1949-12-06) 6 December 1949 (age 69)
Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, England
Nationality English
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Vincent Humphreys (?-?, divorced)
Domestic partner Jim Dowd MP[1]
Alma mater University of Westminster
Website www.janetanderson.co.uk

Janet Anderson (born 6 December 1949) is an English Labour Party politician who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Rossendale and Darwen from 1992 until 2010, when she lost her seat.

Early life

Anderson was educated at Trowbridge Girls' High School (now The John of Gaunt School) and the Kingswood Grammar School in Kingswood, South Gloucestershire. She attended the Polytechnic of Central London and the Université de Nantes.

In 1971, Anderson joined the offices of The Scotsman and The Sunday Times as a secretary. In 1974 she became the personal assistant to the MP for Blackburn, Barbara Castle and to her successor Jack Straw[2] until the 1987 general election, when she unsuccessfully fought the marginal seat of Rossendale and Darwen; losing to David Trippier by 4,982 votes.

Anderson became a campaigns organiser for the Parliamentary Labour Party, and then the northern regional organiser for the Shopping Hours Reform Council campaigning to extending the Sunday trading laws. She also ran her own public relations company, with clients such as the Royal College of Nursing and Safeway plc.

Anderson is a member of the GMB Union, and was formerly secretary of the Tribune Group.

Parliamentary career

Anderson re-fought Rossendale and Darwen successfully at the 1992 General Election, winning by just 120 votes. She became the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Margaret Beckett, which she held for a year.

She was an opposition whip from 1994–96, before being appointed Shadow Minister for Women. While in this role she notoriously joked in an interview that women would become "more promiscuous" under a Labour government.[3]

In 1996, in response to campaigns to deal with the problem of stalking, she presented the Stalking Bill 1996 to Parliament under the Ten Minute Rule,[4] with support from 64 other MPs.[5] The bill failed to get government support, as it was felt that the proposed offence failed to distinguish between reasonable and unreasonable conduct.[6]

Following the 1997 general election Anderson became a junior whip and Vice-Chamberlain of the Household in Tony Blair's new government, before being promoted to Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in 1998,[7] where she was the Minister for Tourism, Film and Broadcasting and was responsible for bringing in the popular free TV licences for the over-75s.

Anderson returned to the back benches following the 2001 general election.[7] She subsequently served on the Home Affairs Select Committee, before becoming a member of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee and the House of Commons Administration Committee. She was also on the Chairmen's Panel Committee. She was defeated in the 2010 general election by Conservative candidate Jake Berry in an 8.9% swing to the Conservatives. Berry overturned a Labour majority of 3,616 to win by 4,493 votes.[8]


In 2009, during the Disclosure of expenses of British members of parliament over MPs' expenses, The Daily Telegraph alleged that Anderson had submitted and was paid a claim form including mileage equalling 5 round trips to her constituency each week parliament sat along with rail and air fares despite living in London during the week.[1] Her expenses for car journeys were; £16,612 for 60,118 miles travelled. This was £4,500 more than the next highest claimant, Laurence Robertson.[9] The Telegraph described her as "one of the most prolific expense claimers in Parliament"[10] Other allegations included expenses for the up keep of her partner’s, Jim Dowd MP, home in his Lewisham constituency under her second home allowance despite Dowd claiming the London salary supplement intended to cover the additional cost of living in London.[1] Anderson was one of 98 MPs who voted in favour of legislation which would have kept MPs expense information secret.[11]

Anderson claimed near the maximum Additional Costs Allowance between 2001 and 2008, ranking joint highest in 2002/03, 2004/05 and 2006/07 also 3rd in 2003/04.[12]

In 2009 Anderson was allowed to secretly repay £5,750 in expenses for over claimed petty cash.[13]

Personal life

Anderson married solicitor Vincent Humphreys and they have three children. Her son David managed her House of Commons office.[10] In 1999 she had an affair and left (and later divorced) Humphreys for fellow Labour MP Jim Dowd, though they remain on good terms.[2]

Anderson lists her pastimes as swimming, playing the piano, listening to opera, gardening and cooking Sunday roasts for her family.[14] She speaks fluent French.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Rayner, Gordon (11 May 2009). "Labour MP's twice round the globe mileage claim". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 January 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sylvester, Rachel (22 July 2000). "The Daily Telegraph – A Blair babe who amuses Her Majesty". Telegraph. London. Retrieved 3 January 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Picardie, Ruth (3 October 1996). "Promiscuity. A new war cry for Labour?". London: The Independent. Retrieved 1 March 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "A-Z of legislation: Protection from Harassment Act 1997". The Guardian. 1 June 2006.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Stalking Bill: EDM number 855 in 1995–1996". edms.org.uk. Retrieved 22 March 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Home Office drops support for stalking Bill". The Independent. 7 May 1996.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Voting Record – Janet Anderson". The Public Whip. Retrieved 3 January 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Conservative gains in Lancashire". BBC News. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 13 May 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Morris, Nigel (14 February 2007). "The Independent – MPs' travel expenses revealed after two-year battle for secrecy". London: News.independent.co.uk. Retrieved 1 March 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. 10.0 10.1 Swaine, Jon; Blake, Heidi (13 January 2010). "Janet Anderson: former tourism minister is one of most prolific expense claimers". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 1 March 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "How your MP voted on the FOI Bill". The Times. London. 20 May 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Janet Anderson MP". TheyWorkForYou. UK Citizens Online Democracy. Retrieved 3 January 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Swaine, Jon; Winnett, Robert (12 January 2010). "Immunity for MPs who repay expenses". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 1 March 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Janet Anderson MP – biography". Janet Anderson. Retrieved 3 January 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir David Trippier
Member of Parliament for Rossendale and Darwen
Succeeded by
Jake Berry
Political offices
Preceded by
Derek Conway
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
Succeeded by
Graham Allen